Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Our graduate program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies is designed for educators seeking an administration/supervision endorsement for leading a public school in Virginia along with those who seek positions of leadership in nonpublic schools. Applicants with a master’s degree earn the graduate certificate, while applicants with a bachelor’s degree earn the master’s degree.

Developing effective school leaders requires combining teaching of leadership theory with practical application through real-world experiences. As a result, all of our classes are complemented by a relevant practicum.

Admission to the M.Ed. program is open to qualified applicants with a baccalaureate degree. Admission to the graduate certificate program is open to qualified applicants who have a master’s degree. Applicants to both programs should have a strong foundational knowledge in K-12 education, which may be demonstrated by classroom teaching experience (preferably three years). A valid teaching license is preferred but not required.

Successful completion of the ELPS program (M.Ed. or graduate certificate) satisfies Virginia’s licensure endorsement requirement for an approved program in administration and supervision from a regionally accredited university, including the 320 hour internship.

Program Updates

Effective with Fall 2022 admission to the M.Ed. ELPS program, the number of required semester hours is reduced from 37 to 31 semester hours. By combining course content and responding to the demonstrated needs of local schools and divisions, this change enables you to complete the degree with two fewer classes. That’s a savings of over $4,000 on the cost of your master’s degree.

Additionally, in response to the needs of local schools and divisions, the core curriculum for the ELPS Graduate Certificate has changed. The certificate’s Core requirements will reflect the updated Core of the M.Ed. effective with Fall 2022 admission.

Updated requirements are listed below. Catalogs will be updated with this information in mid-June 2022.

Fall 2022 - M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Total: 31 semester hours

Core

15 semester hours. Complete all courses. Each course includes a 30-hour practicum.

  • EDUC 601U Foundations of Educational Leadership
  • EDUC 602U Data for Decision Making
  • EDUC 603U Leading and Supervising Instruction
  • EDUC 605U School Law and Policy for Ethical Leadership
  • EDUC 606U Organizational Operations in Human Resource and Fiscal Leadership

Professional Studies

9 semester hours. Complete all courses. Each course includes a 10-hour practicum.

  • EDUC 630U School Technology
  • EDUC 632U Leading Change through an Equity Lens
  • EDUC 635U Strategic Improvement and Effective Communication in Schools

Leadership Seminars

7 semester hours. Complete both courses. Includes 170 practicum hours.

  • EDUC 610U Reflective Leadership Seminar I (1 sem. hr.)
  • EDUC 611U Reflective Leadership Seminar II (6 sem. hrs.)

Capstone Experience

All candidates must complete a Comprehensive Written Examination.

Requirements & Admissions

  • GradCert Requirements

    GC-ELPS Program of Study

    An earned graduate degree is required for admission.

    Total: 22 semester hours

    Core

    15 semester hours. All candidates must complete the following courses.

    • EDUC 601U Foundations of Educational Leadership Studies
    • EDUC 602U Data for Decision-Making
    • EDUC 603U Leading and Supervising Instruction
    • EDUC 604U Communicating and Leading
    • EDUC 605U School Law and Ethics

    Field Experience

    7 semester hours. All candidates must complete at least 320 hours of practicum outside the classroom to qualify for the endorsement. Each Core course requires 30 hours of practicum; the remaining 170 hours is completed through the Reflective Leadership Seminar residency program. All candidates must complete the practicum courses.

    • EDUC 610U Reflective Leadership Seminar I
    • EDUC 611U Reflective Leadership Seminar II

    Capstone Experience

    All candidates must complete a Comprehensive Written Examination.

  • M.Ed. Requirements

    M.Ed.-ELPS Program of Study

    Total: 37 semester hours

    Core

    15 semester hours. All candidates must complete the following courses. Each course includes a 30-hour practicum.

    • EDUC 601U Foundations of Educational Leadership Studies
    • EDUC 602U Data for Decision-Making
    • EDUC 603U Leading and Supervising Instruction
    • EDUC 604U Communicating and Leading
    • EDUC 605U School Law and Ethics

    Professional Studies

    15 semester hours. All candidates must complete the following courses. Each course includes a 10-hour practicum.

    • EDUC 630U School Technology
    • EDUC 631U Fiscal Leadership
    • EDUC 632U Leading Change in Educational Settings
    • EDUC 633U School Culture and Human Resource Leadership
    • EDUC 634U Context of Educational Public Policy and Politics

    Field Experience

    7 semester hours. All candidates must complete the following courses. Reflective Leadership Seminar residency includes 170 hours in practicum.

    • EDUC 610U Reflective Leadership Seminar I
    • EDUC 611U Reflective Leadership Seminar II

    Capstone Experience

    All candidates must complete a Comprehensive Written Examination.

  • Graduate Admissions

    Admission to Graduate Programs

    Transfer of Graduate Credits

    Up to six semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred toward a graduate program in the School. Transfer credits may be accepted only from another regionally accredited institution of higher education. In order for graduate academic credits completed prior to admission into a graduate program to be considered, credits: (1) must have been completed within the past five years with a grade of 'B' or better; (2) must not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree or certificate at the University of Richmond or another institution of higher education; and (3) must be approved by the Program Chair. Possible transfer credits completed while in the program must receive prior approval by the Program Chair. Except by waiver, no more than six hours may be transferred into a graduate program.

    Graduate Admission Process

    Students seeking admission to a graduate certificate or a master's degree program must complete the following:

    • File a Graduate Application with the School and submit the non-refundable $50 graduate application fee
    • Have official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities where college work was attempted forwarded directly to the School
    • Have three (3) letters of recommendation sent directly to the School (requirement differs for Graduate Certificate in Teacher Licensure Preparation and Master of Teaching)
    • Have official TOEFL scores sent (when applicable)

    Official documents verifying college and university work and test scores must be sent from the institution or agency responsible for the information directly to the School.

    Letters of recommendation should be substantive regarding the applicant’s potential to be successful as a graduate student and professional in their field. Letters from past or current supervisors and professors are preferred, and those from professional peers and coworkers who can offer meaningful input about the applicant’s abilities and potential may be appropriate as well. Letters from friends, family members, and subordinates are discouraged.

    Additional requirements vary by graduate degree programs. See the section that follows for the graduate program to which you are applying.

  • ELPS Admissions

    Admission to the Graduate Program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

    Students seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies must have the following (in addition to the admission requirements for all graduate programs):

    • A graduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university (or international equivalent)
    • A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on all college or university academic work attempted. Students who do not meet grade point average requirements may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    • Successful interview with the program director or designee
    • Written statement of your professional intent and rationale for obtaining a degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

    The three letters of recommendation should include an individual who can attest to the candidate's academic ability and potential as a graduate student and from supervisors who can attest to the candidate’s demonstrated leadership ability. The supervisor recommendation might include a school principal or school superintendent. At least one of the recommendations should derive from the K-12 perspective.

    Master of Education

    Students seeking admission to the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies must demonstrate all of the same criteria as for the Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies except they need only to have completed at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university (or international equivalent).

    Recommended Qualification

    In addition to the above requirements, it is recommended that applicants to the programs have a strong foundational knowledge in K-12 education demonstrated by possessing a valid teaching license or classroom teaching experience.